When you’re in a sales environment, be prepared with at least five areas where you’d like to have additional information about the client and their company. Use those areas to develop qualifying questions that will clarify the client’s needs and how you can help. Develop the relationship.
If you are selling in a business-to-consumer environment, prepare yourself with the questions that will enable you to understand what the customer’s needs are and how you can help them. Develop the relationship.
Your goals are to “Gain” knowledge and develop relationships.
In a prevoius post, “Sales – Assuming the Sale” , we discussed how important it is to prepare. Take time to prepare the “High Gain” questions, for your benefit and your clients.
Start the sales process by focusing on the person in front of you. In a business-to-business environment do not focus on the company – at least for now. This opens the interaction and gets the conversation comfortably started. Ask the client what they do, how they got into this business and what they did before this. Gain knowledge and develop the relationship.
Once you’ve both opened up a little and you feel like you know the person a little better, you can start asking questions about the company. You don’t want to ask surface questions with easy answers, but deeper questions that get the client to think. Use leading words like “who,” “what”, “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how” to entice the client to go deeper with their explanation. For instance, you might ask, “What changes have you seen in your business, your competition, or your products in the last three years?” “Why do you feel these changes have happened?” “How do you feel these changes will affect your business in the coming year?”
Explore New Ideas
Ask your client what they’re doing now about their problems, and what else they’ve been considering. Explore new ideas. This is actually a great hidden opportunity for you. Sure, you can obtain a new client, but this is also the perfect time and place to start thinking about how to build a new product line or service based upon what your client tells you!
By asking these “High Gain” thought-provoking questions, you’ll be amazed how quickly you and your client will get wrapped up in the conversation. Both of you will be focused on creating that perfect product or service. Fulfilling that need that takes the client where they want to be. More importantly, you are developing relationships not selling. Your client is learning and so are you.
Remember to direct the questioning based upon answers you will need for developing the relationship. Random questioning will get you nowhere. Specific questioning shows that you know your product and that you care. What are the client’s wants and needs?